Los Angeles Rams wideout Cooper Kupp has the chance to break some impressive NFL receiving records in Sunday's season finale at SoFi Stadium. That is, unless the 49ers' defense can slow the star receiver down in a pivotal game for both teams.
Kupp is 11 catches away from equaling Michael Thomas' remarkable 149-reception campaign back in 2019 with the New Orleans Saints. Kupp also needs 135 receiving yards to tie Calvin Johnson's single-season record of 1,964 yards set in 2012.
The 28-year-old spoke to reporters on Monday about potentially being able to make NFL history Sunday against the 49ers. Given that the NFL added a game to the regular-season slate in 2021, Kupp acknowledged that his record should be held in a different light than what Thomas and Johnson did over 16 games.
“What those guys did in 16 games, it wouldn’t seem right to, I don’t know, for those to be broken in 17 games,” Kupp said, via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com (H/T Pro Football Talk). “It wouldn’t hold the same weight to me as it does for guys that have done that in a 16-game season and the accomplishments those guys had and the seasons they put together. Those are incredible things, incredible accomplishments. You kind of have to separate the two. ... Those records hold a different weight. I have just an incredible respect for what those guys were able to do, what they were able to accomplish, what they were able to produce for their teams in those 16 games.”
Kupp also is very likely to win the vaunted "Triple Crown" by pacing the NFL in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns at season's end. Kupp leads runner-up Davante Adams by 21 catches heading into Week 18, runner-up Justin Jefferson by 310 yards and Ja'Marr Chase by two receiving touchdowns.
"It would be a pretty incredible thing, there's a lot of really good football players in this league, lot of really good receivers that I have a lot of respect for, so would be really cool," Kupp said Monday. "The most important thing is that we win the game, lock down the division title and get ready to move into the playoffs here."
Kupp had a big game in the Rams' first matchup with the 49ers back in Week 10, catching 11 of 13 targets for 122 yards.
The 49ers had a pair of safeties on the injury report Wednesday, as Talanoa Hufanga and Jaquiski Tartt both were limited participants at practice. The 49ers also have five defensive backs on the reserve/COVID-19 list, although most of those players are expected to be able to play Sunday.
The Rams have a chance to clinch the NFC West title, while the 49ers earn a playoff spot with a win or a loss by the Saints.
Kupp has been as difficult as any receiver in the game to stop this season, so defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans will have his hands full trying to keep the wideout from making some NFL history.